HAGERSTOWN, M.d. (WDVM) — With 2020 already having been a disastrous year for Americans, the end of the Hagerstown Suns baseball team’s 40-year run felt like salt in the wound to many city residents. But a very important thing to consider is what this will do to the area’s economy.
Last Friday, the Hagerstown Suns announced that their affiliation with the Washington Nationals major league baseball team was over. This decision shocked fans of the sport, but members of the city said that they saw this coming.
“We’ve been aware of the fact for over a year that minor league baseball is contracting about 22 teams, and the Hagerstown suns were always on that list,” said Dan Spedden, president of the Hagerstown Convention and Visitors Bureau.
This change is not only the end of a decades-old tradition but also the end of many streams of revenue for the city of Hagerstown, as the Suns created a profit of hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars for the city.
“$400,000 in payroll that the city will lose. That’s about nine full-time and 45 part-time jobs,” said Spedden. “Sales there, even on a lackluster year, generate an excess of $50,000 in sales tax for the city.”
Although there is now a hole in the city’s profits, city leadership believes that Hagerstown should do something different to bring in money, such as creating a space for private teams to practice, instead of trying to replace the Suns.
“I don’t think you’re gonna replace that revenue,” said Bob Bruchey, former mayor of Hagerstown and current city council member. “I think what we need to do is focus on the next project that will bring something similar.”
The city is still determining what it will do with the Hagerstown Suns stadium.